Converting commercial property into residential space—like turning a parking garage into condos—has been popular recently. But what about rezoning property from residential to commercial?

Commercial real estate is lucrative. Nearly $90 billion is spent building it each year.

If you have a residential property, it’s well worth your time converting it to commercial. But where do you start?

There are several things to consider and many things to do before you get the zoning you need for your property. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about rezoning property from residential to commercial.


Assessing Your Residential Property

When rezoning property from residential to commercial, you have many of the same considerations as you do when building a commercial property from the ground-up: getting the right permits, selecting an office layout, filling out change of address forms, etc..

But with residential properties, your considerations are a bit different.

modern apartment building

Converting a residential property to a commercial property involves more than sticking a sign out front and putting in a wheelchair ramp. You’re changing the entire purpose of the structure, which means the structure itself may have to change as well.

Here are a few things to assess before you start:

  • Impact on the community: If the property isn’t already zoned for commercial use, think about how the noise or traffic caused by your business will negatively affect schools, families, etc.
  • Costs: Get quotes for converting the property. Depending on what you’re working with, it can be easy to go over budget.
  • Access: Even if a property is zoned commercial, there may be physical limitations that make it difficult for clients and employees to get in and out.

Regardless of the land or building you pick, a commercial building inspection is critical to your assessment of the property.

A reliable, experienced building inspector can provide you with insight and information you wouldn’t otherwise have, such as expected operating costs, potential future repairs, the existence of any unpermitted work, and ADA compliance.

This is not the place to cut corners. The more experienced and thorough a building inspector is, the more accurate the report will be, which means you’ll know exactly what you are getting into.

But there’s one more thing to consider: the rezoning process.


Rezoning Property From Residential to Commercial

Even the most turnkey property in the world wouldn’t make a good office space if it isn’t zoned for commercial use. And if the structure was originally designed for residential use, there’s a good chance it has to be rezoned before you can make it your new headquarters.

Here’s how to go about rezoning property from residential to commercial.

Meet Your Neighbors

You’ll have to get approval from both the government and your community before you can move forward with your plans. Going to your neighborhood association can help you build a rapport with your community.

Listen to their concerns regarding traffic, pollution, and other impacts to the area. Show that you’re willing to work towards solutions so that both of you can be happy. If you’ve already anticipated and planned against these objections, even better.

tiny house under construction sitting on top of blueprints

Go to Zoning Meetings

Just like you want to meet those in the neighborhood who will make decisions impacting your property, you should go to zoning meetings. You’ll gain valuable insight into zoning laws and get to know those who can say yes or no to your rezoning requests.

Learn About Local Zoning

Zoning meetings are a great place to start, but you’ll still have to do your homework. Rezoning property from residential to commercial oftentimes relies on politics and local trends.

Has there been a prior property that made the switch? Find out how and why they were successful.

Do a deep dive into demographics, benefits to the community, zoning history, and more. Anything you can find that strengthens your case will help.

Make Your Request

Once you’ve had your property inspected,  it’s time to make your request. File the paperwork with your proposal and wait to hear back from the zoning commission and the community.

Make any adjustments to the neighborhood or government requests. Have a “Plan B” if adjustments aren’t possible.

If you’ve done everything right, the final vote should be in your favor!


Rezoning Property the Right Way

There are a lot of details to keep in mind when rezoning property from residential to commercial. Our guide will help you keep track of everything you need to make the switch successfully.

But before you go to a single meeting, make sure you get an inspection from a qualified commercial building inspector.

Not all inspectors are created equal. And when you’re about to rest your entire livelihood on a piece of real estate, it’s important to look before you leap. There are no lemon laws when it comes to real estate and you will be 100% financially responsible for the property once it’s in your hands.

Reach out to us today and make sure your property inspection is done right!